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Kate Bush

One of the most successful and popular solo female performers to come out of England during the last several decades of the 20th century, Kate Bush was also one of the most unusual, with her keening vocals and unusually literate and complex body of songs. As a girl, Catherine Bush studied piano and violin while attending the St. Joseph's Convent Grammar School in Abbey Wood in South London. She also amused herself playing an organ in the barn behind her parents' house. By the time she was a teenager, Bush was writing songs of her own. A family friend, Ricky Hopper, heard her music and brought Bush to the attention of Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour, who arranged for the 15-year-old Bush to record her first demo. With Gilmour's help, Bush was signed to EMI Records at age 16, though the company made the decision to bring her along slowly. She studied dance, mime, and voice, and continued writing. She also began thinking in terms of which of the 200 or so songs she'd written would be part of her first recording, and by 1977, she was ready to begin her formal career, which she did with an original song, "Wuthering Heights," based on material from Emily Bronte's novel (and more directly inspired by Bush's seeing the 1970 film directed by Robert Fuest and starring Timothy Dalton and Anna Caulder Marshall).

The song would set a pattern for much of her future work, which was filled with literary and other external thematic allusions, and sometimes made even fans feel as though her lyrics ideally would come with footnotes -- heady stuff for a teenage rock singer in the late '70s. Her precocity was demonstrated by the approach she took to the song, deliberately affecting what she felt -- in her mid-teens -- was the voice of a ghostly Cathy, whom she regarded as a dangerous, grasping figure, reaching out to her lover even from the grave. "Wuthering Heights" rose to number one on the British charts when it was released in 1978, and Bush became an overnight sensation at the age of 19. Her debut album, The Kick Inside, a collection of material that she had written from 15 onward, some of it displaying extremely provocative and sophisticated sexual references and images, reached number three and sold over a million copies in the U.K.

Bush's second album, Lionheart, reached number six but didn't achieve anything like the sales totals or critical acclaim of its predecessor, and in later years Bush regretted the rush involved in planning and recording that album to capitalize on the success of her debut. In England during the spring of 1979, Bush embarked on what proved to be the only concert tour of her career to date, playing a series of shows highlighted by 17 costume changes, lots of dancing, and complex lighting. Bush was also apparently the first rock performer (at least since the days in the early '60s when Sweden's Spotnicks experimented with a more primitive version of the technology) to make use of a wireless voice microphone, which freed her up to move around the stage as few singers before her had been capable of doing. The tour proved both exhausting and financially disastrous, and ever since then Bush has avoided any but the most limited live concert appearances, primarily in support of certain charitable causes. This absence from the concert stage, the extended periods -- often as much as three to five years -- between albums, and the dense, reference-filled nature of her songs and lyrics have also resulted in Bush becoming one of the more enigmatic pop artists in England since the Beatles; her relatively private personal life has only added to the mystique surrounding her. But her relative aloofness and her unusual sound and approach to pop music also made it more difficult to "explain" or encapsulate her work in a few words to the uninitiated, especially in America, where radio play and television exposure proved much harder to come by during the first few years of her career.

By the start of the 1980s, Bush was established as one of the most challenging and eccentric artists ever to have achieved success in rock music, with a range of sounds and interests that constantly challenged listeners, encompassing literature, art, poetry, cinema, history, and all manner of other subjects. "Babooshka" (1980) became her first Top Five single since "Wuthering Heights," and her subsequent album, Never for Ever, entered the British charts at number one in September of 1980. During this period, Bush began co-producing her own work, a decisive step toward refining her sound and also establishing her independence from her record company. Although 1982's The Dreaming reached number three, the single "There Goes a Tenner" failed to reach the charts, and most observers felt that Bush had lost her audience. Bush was unfazed by the criticism, and even began taking steps to make herself more independent of her record label by establishing a home studio, this partly in response to EMI's huge studio charges on her previous records -- from the mid-'80s onward, Bush was free to spend her time at her leisure working out her sound, and it seemed to pay off with her next release.

After two years' absence, Bush re-emerged in August of 1985 with "Running Up That Hill," which became her second biggest-selling single. The accompanying album, Hounds of Love, the first record made at her 48-track home studio, debuted on the British charts at the number one position in September of 1985 and remained there for a full month, and soon after "Running Up That Hill" gave Bush her long-awaited American breakthrough, reaching number 30 on Billboard's charts. By this time, in England Bush was ranked alongside Madonna in terms of her musical impact, "Running Up That Hill" having bumped "Like a Virgin" out of the number one chart position. The changes in her sound and her development as a writer/performer were showcased in the January 1987 best-of collection The Whole Story, for which she also re-recorded the lead vocal for "Wuthering Heights" to bring the song more in line with her sound as it was in her twenties (she later admitted that she would have liked to have done something similar with several of her other early recordings done when she was in her teens). The album also featured her latest single, "Experiment IV," whose lyrics were built on a science fiction story line that was echoed in the video, which Bush directed with a cast of familiar movie performers, and which came out like a miniaturized musical version of a Quatermass-like chiller. That same year, Bush won the Best British Female Artist award at the sixth-annual BRIT Awards in London.

In October of 1989, Bush's first new album in almost four years, The Sensual World, reached the British number two spot, and received an unprecedented promotional push in America, where she signed with Columbia Records for her future releases. Bush's next album, The Red Shoes (1993), inspired by the 1948 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, debuted in the American Top 30, the first time one of her albums had ever charted that high -- Bush made a rare personal appearance in New York that December, an autograph signing at Tower Records on the Lower East Side, and the resulting line of admirers stretched almost six blocks, and required her to extend her appearance by several hours (she was still delighted and amazed by the procession five hours into the event).

It would be another 12 years before Bush would resume her recording career. Rumors of a new album began circulating in the late '90s. During this time, Bush became a mother and quietly retreated to her countryside home in Berkshire, Reading, England. In 2005, Bush finally released her follow-up to The Red Shoes, the double-disc set Aerial. After another six-year silence, Bush released The Director's Cut in 2011. It was a collection of 11 redone songs taken from 1989's The Sensual World and 1993's The Red Shoes. Bush claimed she was never quite satisfied with what was released, and therefore decided to rework elements in the chosen songs -- she recut all of her vocals and drums, and left virtually everything else unchanged. That said, the title of the song "The Sensual World" was renamed "Flower of the Mountain," because there, Bush also changed the words. Bush proved somewhat prolific in 2011 when she released 50 Words for Snow on Anti in November, an all new concept recording containing seven long tracks. Jazz drummer Steve Gadd plays throughout, with Bush's son Bertie guesting on one track and Sir Elton John duetting with Bush on "Snowed in at Wheeler Street." ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: King Of The Mountain

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Track List: Deeper Understanding (Radio Single)

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Track List: Wild Man (Single)

Comments

Her song writing really makes you feel what she's feeling when she wrote it, and her voice is angelic.
1977 college radio. Brilliant and one helluva voice.
My ex introduced me to Kate's music back in 82 and music for me changed forever.
jeffreymqs64 1
People interested in making a few extra bucks per day you can check out BLUDOS.COM This site makes me around 70 usd per day. It's free to sign up.
claricentp91 7
This is how you can make $50 - $100 per day by answering surveys. 1st. Go to BLUDOS.COM 2nd. Click on Start Today 3rd. Create Account (It's free) 4th. Thank me = >
this woman owns my heart!
shawnnavuz71 1
This is how you can make $50 - $100 per day by answering surveys. 1st. Go to BLUDOS.COM 2nd. Click on Start Today 3rd. Create Account (It's free) 4th. Thank me = >
For years,my friend and I said she could make the ABC song awesome.Just listen to Pi,from Ariel!
no comparison-
1976 SNL hooked on K Bush
karenaudreyt o d d
If you have the complete works of Kate, Nina Hagen, Steve Vai and Mozart, you will never be bored even on a deserted island, they are each truly that good.

Try it :)
She drank from the well of awesome sauce.
how awsome she is
She can do no wrong. I have yet to pick up 50 Words For Snow but I know I won't be disappointed . She is a legend and a fairy of the wood who enchants with her piano and voice. Love her...
ingridvonpel t
Kate Bush is definitely an all-time great.
kcmiller42
I have been a certified Kate Bush groupie since the 80's, but I still prefer the original This Woman's Work to the one she just released.
A woman works by Kate bush remade by alicia Keys and maxwell
COOL
1976 SNL, if you haven't seen it watch it Phenom way back then.
tinycoffee20 0 0
Adored and revered..alw a y s want to know what she is doing
lisatianzhan g
The original weirdo, Kate Bush truly is spectacularl y and magically maddening while still being able to hold an infallible persona of the innocent faery within pop culture, fading and out of the public eye without releasing her spell over her audience. Genius.
pure voice, pure lyric, pure mind
Kate Bush is an original. Beautiful and brilliant, her music appeals to me on intellectual , artistic and emotional levels. I think people will enjoy her music when many other recording artists are long forgotten.
this woman would have been famous a hundred years ago on britian's variety/musi c halls with the same lyrics/music as todays.....t h i s is a most important artist....
better world and better music because she happened
She makes life wonderful!
One word for Kate Bush.. BRILLIANT
freak33460
loved the kick inside lp. still have it on vinyl. love her's and maxwells live version of this woman's work.
wltrbuckley4 8 7
she sure is a good singer
Oh to be In Love...with Kate Bush...
dolphindream e r _ a b c
My cousin Anna is hippieish/gy p s y i s h and her theme song is BIg Sky
mine is the show by Lenka
mikeyjen
Absolutely LOVE Kate Bush...I was turned on to her from an old girlfriend in the late 80's, early 90's.....I have no idea what ever happend to the girlfriend, but I will ALWAYS love the fact that I found Kate Bush !!
I CAN LISTEN TO THIS SONG OVER AND OVER AGAIN. DANCING TO IT IS WONDERFUL TOO! kATE'S MOST EXCELLENT SONG.
"One of the most successful and popular solo female performers of the past 20 years to come out of England"

When was this bio written??? That should read "of the past 35 years".
I love "Big Sky"
It was 1986 i was 18yrs old working at tower records in Berkeley CA. A rainy March 8,1986 I was hired as a cashier and singles Buyer. I loved everyone. True friends and real Love of Music.
choperini117 0
So...I'm ashamed to say that, although I am an avid Happy Rhodes fan, I've never given Kate Bush a listen. Then "Under the Ivy" came on my (appropriate l y ) Ecto station, and my immediate reaction was..."a cross between Happy Rhodes and Sarah Brightman"!! ? ? Even though she technically came before both of them...
mrazmeritsa
All I can say is,(borrowin g from the lyrics of one of her songs) "Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow....UNBEL I E V A B L E ! " This woman's music touches my soul...she's simply brilliant!
greatest woman english artist ever. what a voice. what a writer
My favorite video of all time is CLOUDBUSTING ! ! ! ! Donald Sutherland was amazing!! Kate is a national treasure of England!!!!
...such a gorgeous, amazing piece of music.
If you watch Kate in Babooshka and the Siousxie in Kiss Them for Me . . . the heart, soul, poetry, passion, emotion and methodology the both demonstrate is very similar. Notice the intensity of deliberate and meticulously executed sensuality they weave into the nuance of the lyrics.
They both represent the intellectual side of songwriting and performance that is missing from 99% of the chart-toppin g mainstream "over-produc e d " music.
They are music genius who have never sold out their vision and their art to be more popular and make money. They both represent the highest standard of dedication to the art, both placing the process, their visions and the expression of their gifts above the pursuit of fame and fortune.
You gotta love that.
I'm not sure how Kate Bush is similar to the great gothrockers Siouxsie & The Banshees.
sdman3
mesmerizing hypnotic lyrics she's fantastic... .
She has an amazing voice and talent, but I think the best part about her is that she is so smart. So many of her songs are about books she has read.
the bushmaster general
I love her impact in the story telling...li k e a young woman mezmerized with her dance partner, of whom she finds out in a paper...that she danced with Hitler!!! Just the tip of her iceberg of talent... I did not realize she started recording so young...
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